Keroche Breweries Limited CEO Tabitha Karanja’s daughter Anerlisa Muigai has weighed in the current predicament the company is facing.
The CEO of Nero, a water bottling company, said it was unfortunate what her mother’s company was going through.
“It’s so sad that Keroche has been shut down and nobody seems to want to listen, help or negotiate.”the statement on Instagram read.
Anerlisa said at least 650 people had been stranded for two months, and were on the verge of losing their jobs.
“We, (Nero Company) happen to share the same compound with them and I must say, it has been very sad sewing Keroche closed for two months and even worse, 650 people are stranded wondering when Keroche will start being operational and are also at risk of losing their jobs.” Anerlisa said.
The local beer brewer is embroiled in a tax row with KRA over a Sh322 million in taxes. In a press statement on Friday, CEO Tabitha Karanja said efforts to strike a fresh deal with the taxman on the payment of the tax arrears had proved futile.
Tabitha said the company had tried in vain to have an audience with KRA Commissioner General James Githii Mburu.
The Naivasha-based brewer has remained closed since February 1, 2022, after a back and forth with KRA.
The CEO says the plant has 2 Million litres of beer worth about Ksh512 Million in their tanks which now requires Ksh30 Million monthly to maintain.
She said the company is considering draining all the beer and laying off its direct employees if the government doesn’t intervene within the next seven days.
“The recent closure by KRA has drained all our resources and unfortunately if nothing is done in the next seven days, we will be forced to drain down all the beer and lay down over 250 direct employees and thousands within our nationwide distribution network,” Karanja said.
In her Statement, Anerlisa alleged that the banks had been instructed not to issue loans to keroche.
“How do you get your taxes paid by closing Keroche and on top of that you tell all the banks not to give them a loan?”
Anerlisa said small businesses like her own were at risk if bigger businesses like her mother’s could be subjected to harsh treatment from the taxman.
“Every time I ask myself if at all a big company like Keroche can be shut down just like that, how do we and other upcoming businesses get the strength to continue running our businesses?” the statement read.
In her statement, Karanja urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and end the standoff to avoid further losses.
She wants the brewer allowed to continue with its operations to enable the company meet its obligations as well as repay the pending amount.
Karanja also wants KRA to give the company a 12 months grace period on the taxes in arrears.